Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks

March 15, 2019

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Yummmmmmmm! Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks! Comfort food at its finest!  This potato ale soup is so creamy and flavorful on its own with that gorgeous sharp Kerry Gold Cheddar swirled into the mix, it is sheer bliss. It is then topped with a sprinkle of fresh thyme and just a bit of red pepper flakes to give it a little kick.

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I would’ve said it couldn’t have gotten any better….but that was before I got a taste of those beer battered leeks. SQUEEEEE!!! Those fried leeks are so crispy with a lovely delicate flavor – they just melt in your mouth! I know deep frying stuff can be a bit of a pain in the neck, but seriously….you’ve just got to do it for these leeks. Sooooooo worth it!

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I must admit, I was a bit nervous when I was making this soup. You see, several years ago when the Husband and I were on holiday in Newfoundland, we went into a local brewery and ordered some cheddar ale soup to go along with our pints. We were expecting a little cup, but then big ole honking bowls of soup came out. It was pretty tasty I must say, so foolishly we gobbled it all up. We finished our pints somewhere along the way and ordered seconds. When we got up to leave we couldn’t believe it. It felt as though that soup had tripled in size or that I had somehow eaten all of St. Johns. I have never been that full in my life. We could barely move. I thought someone was going to have to roll us back to our hotel. When we finally did make it back there, we just laid about the place for hours moaning about our bellies. Good times right?

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But this Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup was thankfully nothing like that. Although it is hearty and filling, it isn’t heavy at all. I would recommend that you use a lighter ale or lager with this recipe to avoid weighing it and yourself down! Goodness knows there are parties & parades you’ve got to get to. And green beer to guzzle…

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Or maybe you stay in this year. Seen one parade, you’ve seen them all? You could just cozy up with a nice warming bowl of this lovely soup all topped with those glorious little leeks and enjoy some quality me time. Everyone knows beer has no business being green anyway!

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Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy - but a bit messy what with the frying of the leeks. SO worth it though!
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recipe from: How Sweet Eats

Ingredients:

For the Soup:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 12 ounces irish ale or your favorite beer
  • 8 ounces Kerry Gold sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated, plus more for topping
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cream, for drizzling
  • fresh herbs for garnish, like thyme, oregano or basil
  • red pepper flakes for garnish

For the Beer Battered Leeks:

  • 1 cup sliced leeks
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 ounces irish ale or your favorite beer
  • vegetable or canola oil for frying

Directions:

For the Soup:

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. Stir in the onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and even begin to caramelize slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add in the potatoes, stock and ale. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce it to medium-low and let it simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Carefully pour the contents in a high-powered blender (if needed, you can do it in two batches). Blend until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pot. Or alternatively, you can use an immersion blender and just keep the soup in the pot. Once blended, heat it over low heat, stirring well. Stir in the grated cheese, one handful at a time, until it completely melts. Make sure you add the cheese SLOWLY over low heat, so it melts right into the soup. Taste and season additionally if desired – you may want a little more salt and pepper depending on the saltiness of your cheese!
To serve the soup, drizzle 1 tablespoon of cream over top. Top with a handful of the beer battered leeks, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, some fresh herbs and pepper. Serve immediately.
For the Beer Battered Leeks:
Cover a large plate with a paper towel or two.
Heat about 2 to 3 inches of oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat the oil to be about 350° F. In this instance, Use a candy/deep fry thermometer to ensure it reaches and remains at the correct temperature.
Whisk together 1 cup of flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Whisk in the beer until the batter is smooth. Place the other cup of flour in a plate. Add the leeks to the beer batter in batches, covering them completely. Remove them from the beer batter and place them in the flour on the plate, tossing to coat. Shake off any excess flour. Add the coated leeks to the oil and fry until the batter is golden brown and flakey. Remove the leeks with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to drain and excess grease.
Enjoy!
Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks:
Le Creuset 5 1/2 qt. dutch oven
Breville Immersion Blender
Candy/Deep Fry Stainless Steel Thermometer
Stainless Steel Spider Strainer
KerryGold Aged Cheddar Cheese
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Crockpot Corned Beef & Cabbage Soup

March 14, 2016

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St. Patrick’s Day is only three days away, and what would St. Patrick’s Day be without Corned Beef & Cabbage? It certainly wouldn’t do, especially for all the Irish Americans out there. I already let the cat out of the bag last year, that folks in Ireland do not actually eat Corned Beef & Cabbage. Nope. That dish evolved and came to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day here in America after the arrival of many Irish immigrants. (For more info on the history of corned beef, take a look at my Corned Beef Hash blog from last year.) So although Corned beef & Cabbage is not a traditional dish for the Irish in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day just wouldn’t be the same for Irish Americans without it. So I figured this Crockpot Corned Beef & Cabbage Soup recipe would come in handy for some folks out there. Especially the ones that really want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but are a wee bit too short on time to fuss over a big St. Patrick’s Day feast. This crock-pot soup is exactly what you need. You can get the whole St. Patrick’s Day corned beef, cabbage, potato vibe in one bowl and yet spend very little time in the kitchen.

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Seriously, you just toss all of these lovely ingredients in the crock pot, turn it on and walk away. You don’t even have to head back into the kitchen for 7 hours! And truth be told, I always prepare soups the day before I want to serve them. They taste so much better after resting in the fridge overnight. All the flavors really have a chance to blend together. And another big benefit of letting this soup sit over night is that corned beef is a very fatty cut, that’s part of what makes it so delicious. However, even though you will cut away the fat when you shred the meat, I find that a lot of fat remains in the soup. Yuck! No one wants a greasy soup! You can try to skim this off of the top while it is still hot. However, if you just stick the soup in the fridge over night, that fat rises to the top and solidifies, making it a breeze to remove. Serve with pints of beer and a hunk of crusty brown bread, slathered in butter of course! Feasting on St. Patrick’s Day has never been such a breeze!

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Crockpot Corned Beef & Cabbage Soup

  • Servings: 8 - 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Pipandebby.com

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3-lb. corned beef brisket (yup…just pop it into the crock pot uncooked)
  • 8 baby red potatoes, cut into small chunks
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 4 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 14.9 oz. can of Guinness Stout
  • 32-oz. container chicken broth

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cabbage, onion, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until cabbage is soft and onions are fragrant.

Add mixture to a large crockpot, along with corned beef brisket, potatoes, carrots, celery, bay leaf, thyme, Guinness & chicken broth. If the veggies are not completely covered by liquid, add water until they are.

Cook on Low heat for 7-8 hours. Remove corned beef from crockpot and place on a cutting board. Shred Corned Beef with two forks, removing and discarding fat. If any of the shredded meat is too long, cut into smaller bite-sized lengths. Return meat to the crockpot and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

You can serve the soup immediately if you wish, but I usually refrigerate it overnight. The next morning, the fat will have risen to the top and solidified. Remove the fat, reheat soup and serve with crusty brown bread.

Enjoy!

Crockpot Corned Beef & Cabbage Soup brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Helpful Links to Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Crockpot Corned Beef & Cabbage Soup:

Crock-Pot Slow Cooker

 

 

 

 

 

 


Moroccan Meatball & Couscous Soup

February 9, 2016

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So I know good ole Punxsutawney Phil has declared that Winter is on the way out and Spring is right around the corner. However, Spring hasn’t yet stepped out in this neck of the woods. It has been damp, cold and really pretty dreary recently. In fact, today it is actually snowing. Soup weather without a doubt and I have a great recipe for a soup which is not only flavorful and warming, but also pretty fun as well – Moroccan Meatball & Couscous Soup. This is definitely one of the Husband’s favorite soups. He LOVES meatball anything…cocktail meatballs, meatball subs, spaghetti & meatballs and on the rare occasion that we have ventured into an IKEA, you can rest assured that you’ll find him in the cafeteria sampling those Swedish Meatballs. So when I came across this recipe, I knew it would be a winner with him. This soup features mini meatballs which are chock full of Moroccan spices and Israeli Couscous in a chicken broth base. The meatballs are baked prior to going into the soup which helps them retain their shape. I prefer ground beef for my meatballs, though the original recipe calls for lamb. So if you are a fan of lamb, feel free to go with the original recipe. Either way, these Moroccan spiced meatballs are quite tasty!

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The Israeli Couscous adds a wonderful nutty flavor as well as a lovely texture to the soup. If you’ve never tried Israeli Couscous before, now is the time! It is really delicious. Similar to Moroccan couscous, this toasted pasta is much bigger and is shaped like little balls. This couscous works perfectly in soups because it retains its shape well and tends to not clump together. Though I will say, this soup does thicken if you have leftovers saved in the fridge. Before reheating, just add few glugs of chicken broth to it and it will be good as new! Quick and easy to make, you’ll have this soup on the table in no time flat. Serve it up with a big loaf of rustic, crusty bread and this comforting soup will make you forget all about the crappy weather outside. And don’t despair, I have great faith that our beloved weather predicting rodent was correct…Spring is on the way!

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Moroccan Meatball & Couscous Soup

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Williams Sonoma

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • the leaves from 4 -5 fresh sprigs of thyme (leaves only – no stems! You can substitute 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, but I think the fresh thyme is better if you have it.)
  • 1/8 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. chili powder
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. (500 g) ground beef (can substitute lamb in if you want to be a tad more authentic)
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste

For the soup:

  • 1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz./310 ml) water
  • 1 cup (6 oz./185 g) Israeli couscous
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml) chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional – but we like it spicy!)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint (I do not actually use the mint when I make this dish)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

To make the meatballs, preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, curry powder, oregano, thyme, mustard, chili powder, cinnamon and salt. Add the ground beef and tomato paste. Using your hands, mix gently but thoroughly. For each meatball, scoop up 1 tsp. of the mixture. I use a small cookie scoop to do this. It makes it a bit easier and all of your meatballs are similar in size. You should end up with around 40 meatballs. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the couscous, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the meatballs and couscous and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the cayenne pepper. Remove from the heat. Stir in the mint (If you are using it) and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Moroccan Meatball & Couscous Soup brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Moroccan Meatball & Couscous Soup

OXO Good Grips Small Cookie Scoop

Chef’n Zipstrip Herb Stripper – Fantastic tool for stripping herb leaves from their woody stems!

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron 5 1/2 quart Dutch Oven

Israeli Couscous, Tri-Color – This link is for the tri-color couscous. Of course you do not have to use tri-color, you can use regular or even whole wheat if you wish. I just like the look of the tri-color style.


Chickpea, Cremini Mushroom & Farro Soup

February 24, 2015

 

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After leaving the beautiful Cinque Terre, we headed south to explore Tuscany. And no dish better represents  Tuscany than this warming peasant-style soup of Chickpeas, Cremini Mushrooms & Farro. All of the ingredients featured in this soup can be found in abundance in the region. And besides evoking images of that beautiful Tuscan landscape, this soup is actually quite good for you. It is a vegetarian dish, though I suppose you could add a bit of pancetta or sausage if you really needed to satisfy the carnivore within you. It also has the ancient grain Farro in it, which has recently been stealing some of the limelight away from Quinoa as the next big supergrain that everyone should be eating. Though that doesn’t mean it has just been discovered.  Farro has been cultivated and used in Italian cooking for centuries. It supposedly fed the Roman legions at one time. A great source of protein and fiber, it has satisfyingly chewy texture and a nutty taste. It is a wheat grain, so unlike Quinoa, it is not gluten-free. Those little devils are definitely in there.

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I first tasted the soup that inspired this recipe in the small town of Chiusi, Italy. The husband and I were very interested in seeing some Etruscan tombs and artifacts and little Chiusi was one of the greatest city-states of the Etruscan league back in the day in the 7th century BC. Today the town has one of the finest collections of Etruscan archaeological findings in Italy housed in The Museo Archeologico Nazionale. The museum was fascinating, chock full of beautifully carved sarcophagi, expertly crafted jewelry, as well as stunning art and pottery.

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intricate mosaic of hunting scene

intricate mosaic of hunting scene

The most unusual, odd and somewhat creepy thing we saw there were these Canopic jars which have lids that were modeled as a portrait of the dead person held within.

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And although we thoroughly enjoyed our museum visit, we were just itching to head out to the outskirts of the town and go underground to explore some actual Etruscan tombs. There are over 400 of these tombs in the area. Although Etruscan tombs varied according to local custom, generally the rich were buried in stone sarcophagi which were placed in chamber tombs the walls of which were often decorated with brightly painted frescos. We toured the Tomba della Scimmia (Tomb of the Monkey) so named because there is a monkey portrayed in one of the frescos, not because one is interred there, The Tomba della Pellegrina (Tomb of the Pilgrim) and La Tomba de Leone, which date from around 470 BC.

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Fresco on wall in Monkey Tomb

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The Monkey himself, peeking out from behind some sort of plant.

So, as you can see, we were pretty physically active on this holiday, hiking up and down the Cinque Terre hillsides and venturing underground to explore tombs. We definitely enjoy those things, but we are also way into relaxing and being pampered. And that is just what we did at what we found to be the best hotel at which we have ever stayed, La Bandita Townhouse. This absolute gem is located in the center of historic Pienza. The charming hill town of Pienza is situated in the heart of Tuscany, nestled between Montepulciano and Montalcino. The town had been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and overlooks the Val d’Orcia, which boasts some of the most often photographed, unblemished landscapes that exist.

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Pienza city walls

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La Bandita Townhouse is a 500-year-old palazzo and convent, lovingly renovated by John Voigtmann, a retired record company executive. From the outside it is indistinguishable from its neighboring Renaissance age buildings. It is when you step inside the 12 room luxury boutique hotel that the magic begins. All of the nun’s cells have been replaced with an expert blend of contemporary furnishings accented by the old world charm of exposed stone walls and rustic ceiling beams.

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All of the light-filled rooms boast fabulous views of the charming town

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The view from our room out into a private medieval walled garden.

or the gorgeous surrounding countryside.

Crazy Tuscan Tree

Crazy Tuscan Tree

But as I’m sure you all know, design – stunning though it may be –  isn’t enough to make a great hotel experience. Customer service makes all the difference in the world and the folks at La Bandita Townhouse have perfected it. They were wonderful from the very first email when I was planning the trip, offering information on the surrounding area, restaurants, shops, towns, you name it, throughout our entire stay right up to the moment we reluctantly checked-out. And whenever we needed anything, which wasn’t often because they had obviously put a lot of thought into the layout of the rooms and common areas – and everything we needed, for the most part, was often to be found in the first place we looked for it, the attentive hotel staff was right there to help in any way that they could. And although Pienza is certainly a captivating town, La Bandita Townhouse is a destination all within itself. I can’t wait to visit again!

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Guest lounge and honor bar serves champagne every evening for happy hour.

 

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Not only was the hotel top-notch, but they also have a excellent restaurant as well which serves traditional Italian food but with a modern twist.

Visiting a winery in Tuscany and trying some of the local Brunello was high up on our to do list as well. The folks at La Bandita Townhouse were happy to assist us and quickly booked a tour and tasting for us at one of Montalcino’s premiere wine estates Ciacci Piccolomini D’Aragona. The estate, dating from the 17th Century and located just outside the medieval village of Castenuovo dell’Abate, was beautiful. The tour started with the history of the winery, peppered with some intriguing inheritance scandals, moved on to the production of the wine and concluded in their new modern tasting room. We sampled three of their wines, the 2012 Rosso di Montalcino, the 2011 Montecucco Sangiovese and the 2009 Brunello di Montalcino, as well as their olive oil and honey which were all excellent.

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On the way back to the hotel we stopped to visit the 8th Century Abbey Sant’Antimo, a former Benedictine Monastery. This abbey is richly decorated and  functions today as a Cistercian house.

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Love these gargoyles!

 

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Mystery creature…looks pretty scary!

 

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Sneak peek of one of the elusive monks in residence.

Well, I’m sure I’ve surpassed your vacation picture tolerance level at this point. So I’ll leave off for today. Stay tuned next time to hear about our stay in an 11th Century castle’s gate keepers lodgings, our visit to Siena and Florence and to get a great recipe for Wild Boar Ragu and homemade Pici pasta. Until then, if your home base is anything like good old Virginia, gripped by this relentless Winter, you’re probably still shivering in your boots. I hope you will make up a big pot of this hearty Chickpea, Cremini Mushroom & Farro soup to warm yourself and enjoy it with some toasted crusty bread and a bottle (or two….) of wine.

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Chickpea, Cremini Mushroom & Farro Soup

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted from: Williams Sonoma

Ingredients:

For the Soup:

  • 1 1/2 cups (9 1/2 oz./295 g) dried chickpeas, picked over and
    rinsed
  • 8 cups (64 fl. oz./2 l) cold water
  • 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) warm water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) vegetable broth or water
  • 1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g) pearled farro (if you can’t find pearled, you will need to soak the farro overnight.)

For the Mushrooms:

  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) fresh cremini mushrooms, (can substitute porcini mushrooms) brushed
    clean
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp. unsalted butter

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Drizzling

Smoked Paprika for Garnish

Directions:

Put the chickpeas in a large bowl with water to cover and soak for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Drain the chickpeas, rinse well and place in a large saucepan. Add the cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the chickpeas are tender, about 2 hours.

In a large, heavy pot over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and rosemary sprig and sauté until the onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. In a small bowl, dissolve the tomato paste in the warm water and add to the pot. Stir in the chickpeas and their cooking liquid, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes. Add the broth, return to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the flavors have blended, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Discard the rosemary sprig.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender and return it to the pot. Alternatively, process the soup in the pot with an immersion blender. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat. Add the farro and cook until tender yet still slightly chewy, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the mushrooms: Cut away the tips of the mushroom stems and thinly slice the mushrooms lengthwise. In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the wine and thyme sprig and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, season with salt and pepper and continue to cook, stirring often, until the mushroom juices have evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the thyme sprig. Stir in the butter.

Stir the mushrooms into the soup. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with a grinding of smoked paprika.

Enjoy!

Chickpea, Cremini & Farro Soup brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham

December 12, 2014

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It may not technically be winter yet, but I think old man Winter is definitely stirring. It has not only been hovering around freezing here, but is has also been wet and windy as well. Yup, you get chilled to the bone the second you peek your head out of the door. This kind of weather just begs that you to have a big old pot of soup simmering away on the stove…say like this Split Pea with Ham Soup. Thick, rich and hearty, it is comfort food at it’s finest.

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I was inspired to make up a batch of this soup when I found myself with a ham bone after the Thanksgiving festivities. I don’t know about most of you folks, but we can’t manage to have Thanksgiving with just turkey. Nope…there has got to be ham as well. (and oysters since I grew up on an island…). I used to just toss that ham bone out without a second thought. But now I know that was really a mistake. The ham bone gives this soup such an amazing flavour and to be honest contributed quite a bit of meat. I thought we had pretty much picked it clean, but after it spend many hours simmering away, meat was just falling off of that bone. Which brings me to the other fantastic thing about this soup. It is incredibly easy to prepare. I just put all of the ingredients in the crock pot in the morning and eight hours later, after a wee bit of immersion blending, dinner was served!

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No fuss, no muss, and a big payoff. The husband says it is the best Split Pea Soup he has ever tasted. So there you have it. Christmas is right around the corner. If you find yourself with a ham bone left over, you’ll know just what to do!

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Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Garnish With Lemon

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16-ounce) package dried split peas, rinsed
  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 leftover ham bone (or 3 ham hocks – 1 1/2 lbs. Store bought ham hocks don’t have a lot of meat left on them, though they provide a lot of flavour. If you want a meaty soup you might need to supplement it with a little extra ham.)

Directions:

Place all of the ingredients in the slow cooker; gently stir. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Or if you are short on time, cook on high for 4 hours.

Remove the bay leaf from the soup and discard. Remove ham bone from soup and pull remaining meat from the bone. It should fall off quite easily. Set meat aside.

At this point, you can either remove a few cups of the soup, puree in the blender and return to the slow cooker or use your immersion blender for 10 seconds to puree the soup slightly. Stir the reserved ham back into the soup and serve warm.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 

 

 


Cock-a-leekie

January 24, 2013

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Some hae meat and canna eat,

And some wad eat that want it;

But we hae meat, and we can eat,

And sae let the Lord be thankit.

*The Selkirk Grace *

as delivered by Robert Burns

This Friday, January 25th, is Robert Burns’ birthday. Throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, folks will be celebrating with a Burns Night Supper to mark the occasion. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. I’m quite a Burns fan myself and will certainly be raising my glass to The Bard this weekend. I wanted to give you a nice Scottish recipe in case you were planning on holding such a celebration as well. My first inclination was to make Haggis, that great chieftain o’ the puddin-race, as Burns put it.  But I quickly realized that it would likely be difficult to come across the ingredients. Since I couldn’t even find lard around here, I think sourcing out a sheep’s heart, lungs and stomach would be quite the challenge! So, I decided on Cock-a-leekie soup, a standard starter at many a Burn’s Night Supper. And an easy choice for me because my husband is absolutely mad for anything with a leek in it. (Must be that Welsh blood in him.)

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This soup is very easy to make and delicious to boot! The first time that I made it, I was a bit nervous about adding in the prunes. I thought a fruit would taste quite odd in a chicken soup. But although you see bits of prunes in the mix, you don’t get a sweet, fruit taste when you eat them. They add to the overall flavour of the dish and I think they would definitely be missed if they were omitted. You’ll have to trust me on that. I served my Cock-a-leekie soup up with some toasted Struan bread.

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Struan, also known as Celtic Harvest Bread, is thought to have taken its name from a town in Western Scotland called Struanmoor, on the Isle of Skye. It was originally enjoyed once a year as a harvest bread, using whatever grains were available from the previous day’s harvest. This is my absolute favourite bread, so it is almost always available in my house. It toasts up particularly brilliantly. Click here for the Struan recipe that I use. If you are looking for some other dishes to serve at your Burns Supper, take a look at my Scotch Eggs, ( a hard boiled egg encased in sausage and then deep fried.)

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Deviled Scotch Eggs (the eggs as described above, but with the yolk part “deviled”.)

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and Chranachan for dessert. (My Chranachan recipe has a more Irish bent, but that is easy to change. Just use a good Scottish Malt Whiskey rather than the Jamesons and skip the Bailey’s drizzle. This dessert is typically served in a tall glass, though I served it in little chocolate cordial glasses topped with raspberries once, which was quite fun.)

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I hope I’ve managed to inspire you with these lovely Scottish dishes. If so, whip some of them up and raise a wee dram and drink a toast to Scotland’s Favourite Son this Friday.

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Cock-a-leekie

recipe from: Martha Stewart

yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless chicken thighs (on the bone; 4 pieces)
  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless chicken breast halves (on the bone; 3 pieces)
  • Four 14 1/2-ounce cans low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
  • 2 cups white wine or water
  • 2 large celery ribs, halved crosswise
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 leeks, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 12 pitted prunes, quartered (2/3 cup packed)
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Heat a 6-quart Dutch oven on medium-high until hot. Add thighs; cook until browned, turning once, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with breasts.

Add broth, wine, celery, carrot, and garlic to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; scrape any browned bits from pot; return chicken to pot, reduce heat, and simmer, skimming as necessary, for 1 hour. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool. Transfer vegetables to another plate; reserve.

Add leeks, prunes, and barley to broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thick, about 40 minutes more. Once chicken has cooled, shred meat. Finely dice carrot and celery. Stir chicken, carrot, celery, and parsley into soup, heat through, and serve.

Enjoy!

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